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Can cleaning companies really charge under £10 per hour?

We were recently out and about talking to some of our new clients and we noticed that more and more of our competitors are charging strangely low prices to win business. We’re not talking about self-employed cleaners here, who work for themselves, but rather companies that rock up on your doorstep and claim to be running a team of hardworking cleaners, whom are fully insured and working within the legal requirements of the law.

One or two of our more recent client acquisitions have informed us that when previously taking on cheaper cleaning services, based on low introductory offers or low hourly rates, left them with a sour taste in the mouth. Once taking on board a cheaper cleaner some say that they soon experienced the hourly rate creeping up, that their cleaning services generally started to take longer to complete and the quality started to slack after the first clean.

So we thought that we’d share with you some of the costs of running a ‘genuine’ cleaning company with a bona-fide team of hard working and insured cleaners. We’ll leave you to decide whether a commercial cleaning company really can deliver a sustainable commercial cleaning service for under £10 per hour.

This is how I Love Cleaning structures it’s hourly rate… and from this breakdown you will clearly see why we don’t believe that rival companies can charge such a low hourly rate for the same standard of service that we provide… We’re confident that our own £15 per hour rate is as competitive as it gets!

As of April 2018, the UK’s National Living Wage crept up to £7.83 per hour. The team at I Love Cleaning all work extremely hard and are therefore rewarded with an hourly rate that exceeds the NLW. £8-£8.50 per hour. In effect we have a great employee retention rate… which also means that you won’t have a different face arriving on each clean!

As a legitimate employer with ‘CONTRACTED’ cleaners we are required to pay our employees for holidays. Holiday entitlement is best worked out as a percentage of the hours worked. Assuming the cleaners get 20 days plus UK bank holidays then this percentage works out at 12.08% of the average hours worked for the previous 12 weeks. This takes the cost per employee up to approx. £9 per hour.

In addition, we must pay any ‘Employers’ Tax and National Insurance contributions for those employees working more than 20 hours a week, which again is calculated as a percentage. The current rate is 12.8% of earnings so the average cost per hour is now approx. (based on NLW)) £9.50 per employee per hour.

We now apply additional costs such as cleaning products – in the cleaning industry there is a generally accepted figure of around 7%-10% of the hourly rate. Assuming the lower end, the hourly rate is now already set at £10.16.

Our cleaners can travel up to 20 miles each day and they are recompensed with a rate of 35p per mile – so let’s factor in another £1 to the hourly rate for this… and whilst we’re at it let’s factor in capital purchases such as vacuum cleaners, training, uniforms… and the general everyday costs associated with running a business such as Insurance, CRB checks, accountancy, rent & storage, computing, communications, marketing/website and let’s not forget that we are entitled to make a little profit!


Companies that do operate ‘cheap-clean’ tactics may often use the initial or introductory low value offer as a ‘loss-leader’. Once the company gets its foot in your door they often forget to mention that the first clean was just a ‘special offer’ or they will likely try to reduce the number of hours spent in your home or business, whilst still charging you the same introduction price. Some will simply start adding more hours to the clean to make it worth their while or start charging you extra for jobs that you originally thought were already included within the original quote.

So, before you think about going with the ‘CHEAPEST’ quote, please ask yourself ‘How can a ‘genuine’ commercial cleaning company operate a sustainable business by charging under £10.00 per hour and still offer a reliable and quality service?'.

Of course, we recommend that you shop around for a competitive price, but that price needs to be realistic and it needs to be relative to the quality of service that you expect to receive. Be mindful also of the person cleaning your house, because at low hourly rates, they may also be the ones getting a raw deal from the company.

We all appreciate healthy competition, it really helps to keep up industry standards. But cleaning is a very competitive industry and selling out with low prices and poor-quality work is undermining the hard work put in by genuine cleaning companies and it is giving the industry a bad name.

Like many things in life… If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is!

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